Written by: Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland

Severe storms and flooding can cause problems for wastewater systems whenever they occur, but these events are happening more frequently and with more intensity due to climate change. The impacts of these events on wastewater systems are not limited to more frequent flooding, power outages, and service interruptions, but also may include sewer overflows, reduced treatment effectiveness, and changing operations and maintenance needs. What steps can wastewater managers take to improve their ability to handle these issues and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change? In this podcast episode, we speak with Dr. Christine Kirchhoff, Ph.D., P.E., who has conducted extensive research on this topic. She shares her findings from work in Connecticut and beyond on the factors that contribute to utilities’ resilience and support their adaptation efforts, whether they are large or small, coastal or inland. We also discuss innovative adaptation strategies and helpful resources and guidance for wastewater systems that are interested in learning what they can do to improve their resilience now and in the future.